Well, well, well... first post in... oh... 3 1/2 years?! Heh...
I figured I've had PLENTY of time to really break in TCH. I'll go ahead and provide some background with my experiences but for those who would like the cliff notes: TCH is an EXCELLENT host provider from shared to dedicated hosting. TCH maintains knowledgeable, polite, and efficient support staff and top-notch hardware setups within top-notch data centers.
Now, for some "meat" for the brave ones...
First things first - Bill, get back to work and stop slacking off in the forums!
Actually, as most of you know, this couldn't be farther from the truth. Bill and his hosting staff have taken TCH to a level beyond the norm. His hard work, commitment, and long hours (on IM and phone) are equal to none (except me - heh). This remains the single biggest factor why we put our money and our reputation into TCH's hands to this day.
About three years ago I owned a fairly popular site (still do mater o fact) with a pretty good sized member base. A good friend and I (now business partner) performed the daily administration. The site was hosted with 'Feature Price' (anyone who knows the name knows our pain) and came up for renewal right around their buy-out (take over?) debacle. Since we had been jerked around quit a bit by Feature Price-or whoever they were calling themselves, we felt it was time to find a more reputable company.
We embarked on the hosting hunt and scoured the net for a provider. One of the prime requisites was a provider that allowed us to control every aspect of the domain. Behold... CPANEL - queue the signing angels and lights! Cpanel was a perfect solution for our ever growing needs. Now we needed a provider. I believe it was findmyhosting.com that pointed us to TCH - that and lack of time and tired eyes.
So with that, a few bucks a month, some DNS resolution time, we were off and running with TCH under a shared account. About a week into our endeavor we had a few members of our site inquire about getting some small hosting under us - pretty much a sub-domain and e-mail account. We thought "awesome idea and piece of cake with cPanel!" Unfortunately, after inquiring TCH about the prospect of reselling sub-domains, it became apparent that it would probably violate their TOS. Ok, no problem, we had like ten domains scoured over the net that we would gladly bring into a reseller account - not to mention offer to sell entire domains to the inquiring members. It was also apparent we were quickly going to tap the limits of the shared plan so it seemed like the stars were aligning and it was a natural fit.
So once again with a few extra bucks a month, we were upgraded to a reseller account and off and running. Now we were reselling under a hosting business name and looking at what was turning in to a semi profitable hosting business endeavor.
I'm pretty certain it was a cPanel bug at the time...
...regardless, we had upgraded one of our domains website engines (yes, the one that had the huge member base) and something went terribly wrong. We needed to recover a DB backup from cPanel. No problem, I was deathly I AM A SPAMMER about DB backups so I knew we had a recent backup available under cPanel. I'll simply download the backup we made a few days back - right? - heh, WRONG! CPanel decided to keep spitting out a corrupt DB backup and provide us with nothing but nice smiley faces and squiggly-jigglies - very nice, thanks cPanel!
Anyway, we contacted TCH support to see what our options were. We were honestly shocked to hear that they held offline backups that could provide us with a restore - a week old - but something more than what we had. A little bit of a wait for a support tech to retrieve the offline backup but sure enough, we eventually had a working site again - happy members and all.
It wasn't long since venturing into the reseller business that we realized the potential we had and thought about going completely dedicated. We had already hit the highest level of reselling packages and the cost comparisons were starting to equal out. I was able to speak with Bill about some of the options he had available. We were nervous at first since this was a pretty good jump but felt confident that we had the technical, administrative, and monetary wherewithal between me and my partner to run a dedicated hosting business. Heck, I had a 'Unix' and 'Networking' background and my partner was a K-12 school network administrator. I suppose one of the biggest selling points was that leasing through a provider like TCH allowed us to cut tons of overhead and really levy some of the problems against the TCH support staff. SOLD! We decided to take the plunge.
Now things are moving; we had a business plan, our very first dedicated server, clients, and real no kidding problems that were all ours to handle - yay! I can't tell you the amount of sleepless nights we had (and still have) trying to plug through administrative cPanel-isms. I'm proud to say we've manage to 'school' ourselves pretty well - forums, manuals, and sometimes plain ol' common sense are your friend! This is also where I give my biggest 'kudos' to TCH. Although we were a hosting business getting started and offering competing product lines, TCH was willing - not only help us technically - but offer advice on the business side as well - a "Lessons Learned" if you will. After all was said and done, our business saw positive growth due to some of the advice from TCH.
Three years, two dedicated servers, one development server, one backup server, and a whole bunch of time (and money) invested - we sit (or try to) enjoying what our hard work, dedication, and TCH's contributions have afforded our small hosting business. Yes, we still turn to TCH for servers and hardware - and there are no plans to change this model even with the possibility of collocation on the horizon. The days are all but gone of us having to interact much with TCH's support staff but there is no doubt the flexibility they afforded us in the beginning was a factor in our success today.
With that, a HUGE "thanks" to Bill and all of the TCH staff in helping this small host get off the ground.